back to article TSMC said to be considering first European semiconductor plant

TSMC told The Reg it has no "plans at this time" to site one of its factories in Europe but wouldn't rule anything out amid reports that the world's most strategically important chipmaker was sending senior suits to Dresden, Germany, to discuss the possibility of a factory there. Its comments come weeks after German business …

  1. Chris Miller

    Depends how big a bribe subsidy they're prepared to offer.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      They can use the money

      Intel was going to get for their recently "delayed" plant. Tell Intel either you build it on schedule, or we will pull your subsidy and offer it to your biggest competitor!

      1. Justthefacts Silver badge

        Re: They can use the money

        It’s a subsidy. In other words, whichever company builds there is still paying out a chunk of their own money. If you get a 10bn subsidy, and the cost of production is 8bn more because of location overheads,you’ve come out ahead, but if it’s 12bn more you’re still behind.

        If your competitor gets 10bn subsidy, but spends 12bn more, they haven’t “won against you”, they’ve bought themselves a white elephant.

        Each company does its own sums. But that’s almost not the real problem, seen from a company POV. If the German gov gives you 10bn, they feel they’ve bought the right to special treatment and a say in lots of commercial decisions. For example, what happens in ten years if a Chinese auto-maker is prepared to pay 20% more for a bunch of chips than VW? Are TSMC going to be allowed to take the rational commercial decision and export them from Germany, leaving VW dangling? Because if not, that’s a real problem, right there, and seriously reduces the value-to-TSMC of that factory. You really need to value the true costs of national protectionism.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      And how much they can threaten you.

      The USA govt. can credibly declare it will only buy made in America parts. The Eu commission, meh

  2. DS999 Silver badge

    CC Wei's comments

    While it is true that the pendulum swinging away from free trade towards more protectionism distorts the market, it also a terrible idea to have so much of the world's leading edge semiconductor output happening in one place. One place that happens to also be disputed by a major power and in a very seismically active part of the planet.

    So even if other concerns caused it to happen, it is a good thing for the world economy to have TSMC building facilities in the US, Europe and Japan instead of putting more eggs in the Taiwanese basket.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: CC Wei's comments

      The media gives a very distorted picture of where semiconductors are being made. Articles like this one give the impression that the only fabs that are important are TSMC's in Taiwan. This is misleading. Intel, for example, is a huge semiconductor manufacturer and, for example, their plant in Rio Rancho (Albuquerque), New Mexico uses all the latest lithographic techniques.

      I suspect its the old story that corporations would like to grow their business but would rather someone else provided the capital to do this. Semiconductors are a big, profitable, business so it should be possible for it to become even bigger in the normal course of business.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: CC Wei's comments

        Intel only make their own chips.

        While they're apparently considering starting contract manufacturing, it remains to be seen whether that ever actually happens.

        If you want to get top-line CPU or GPU chips made and you aren't Intel, TSMC are your only choice.

        There's far more options for older nodes though.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: CC Wei's comments

          Samsung is also an option, though while they talk like they are ahead they seem to be having yield issues with new processes until they are behind what TSMC has, and don't have the capacity TSMC does.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Lars Silver badge

        Re: CC Wei's comments

        The normal course of business is what we are looking at now.

  3. Piro Silver badge


    Surely should be on the table. Won't have to ship the gear very far then (from ASML)

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Len

      Re: Netherlands

      The thing is, if you build a fab, you only do a handful of transactions with a supplier of machinery (such as ASML) whereas you do daily transactions for the rest of the life of the plant with your customers.

      These chips need to go into cars, helicopters, power tools, computers etc. so it makes sense to be closer to TSMC customers. Hence these companies typically decide to go for Germany, Italy or France (in that order) because that's where the high tech industry is.

  4. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    No choice

    Both the U.S. and Europe desperately want to ensure they do not become too dependent on Asian semiconductors and the U.S. is effectively strong-arming TSMC and Taiwan into transplanting semiconductor fabs onto U.S. soil. Europe too is spending large amounts on subsidies to entice TSMC to put fabs on their continent.

    The only drawback is that TSMC is unwilling to transplant fabs with its most advanced process technology outside of Taiwan (probably at the instigation of the Taiwanese government, who see this unique capability as a sort of "security guarantee").

  5. Binraider Silver badge

    Stating the obvious - why rule out any option.

    Like the US, any prospective move will be founded on security fears and/or how much subsidy that can translate into.

    Another way to view this translating taxes into regional jobs.

    I'll leave that to your own politics if you think that's a good idea or not.

  6. Daedalus

    This sounds familiar

    Oh yeah, when Asian automobile manufacturers set up shop in the US etc. Simply demonstrating that local yokels are fat, dumb, happy and incompetent, otherwise they'd have expanded local production themselves a long time ago.

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